Sudan has arrested at least nine leaders belonging to former leader Omar al-Bashir’s pro-Islamist National Congress party on Monday ahead of planned mass protests in the country, according to government sources.
The government said the nine members had held leadership positions within the party and were arrested in the capital Khartoum.
The arrests come as the Sudanese government on Sunday announced a decision to extend a full curfew in Khartoum State for an additional week starting Tuesday to prevent the COVID-19 spread, according to the country’s Higher Committee for Health Emergencies.
Mass protests are expected on Tuesday, June 30, marking 31 years since the 1989 military coup led by al-Bashir that took him to power.
The country has seen a rocky transition since al-Bashir was ousted by army generals last April and placed under house arrest. He was convicted later in December on charges of corruption and illicit possession of foreign currency and sentenced him to two years of detention in a reform facility.
Speaking on Monday ahead of the protests, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok urged protesters to remain peaceful.
“I implore you tomorrow to exercise your inherent right, which our people seized in the glorious December revolution by the peaceful expression of opinion and demands, to exercise utmost care and follow the health guidelines, and I am confident in the vigilance of the revolutionaries, and their adherence to a peaceful protest,” Hamdok said on Twitter.